I Too, Am Eugene
I Too, Am Eugene: A Multicultural History Project
– Cheri Turpin and Mark Harris. At the Wiley Griffon Historical Monument. Eugene Masonic Cemetery.
Photo of Wiley Griffon, Muleteer / Tram Driver. Wiley was the first African-American to be mentioned in the historical record, but not the first African-American.
Photo of Sam R Street. We try to right historical wrongs.
Welcome to the
“I Too, Am Eugene” Website
In 1997 Cheri created I Too am Eugene, A local multicultural history project. The motivation was to create a curriculum for a school system, that didn’t include a story, that talked about all of us. As educators, she and her husband Mark Harris proudly graduated 7 kids from 4J schools and continue to inspire their grandchildren to excel. We would like to expand the work to help other communities explore their histories.
I Too Am Eugene has trained school teachers, raised money for the Wiley Griffon Historical Marker, at the Masonic Cemetery, helped spark the Kalapuya Talking Stones, the successful renaming of MLK BLVD, Sam Reynolds Street, and created a Historical Bus Tour. Our continuing hope is that we can inspire and assist other communities to have public expressions of their own stories.
Photo of 1948 Eugene City Map
This map was used in both the planning commission board, and the Eugene City Council, meetings to rename Centennial to MLK BLVD. The map shows Centennial was itself renamed from Old Patterson Road. It also shows the site of the “Across the Bridge / Ferry Street” community. African-Americans were only allowed to live outside the bold black lines that were the city limits: West 11th, Skunk Hollow Glenwood (Brooklyn St).
We have provided little known historical information to provide a context for activism and empowerment.
Community, City, County, and State Historical Observances. Street name changes.
Kids & Teen Education
Elementary Curriculum, Rites of Passage, LCC / UO Ethnic Studies
Bus Tour, Historian-in-Residence, App Content Development
We have hosted Historical Bus Tours involving Lane ESD Teachers. Post COVID-19, we are available for Zoom Historian in Residence, and App content development.
A Peculiar Paradise
Peculiar Paradise is a great general overview of Oregon Black History, but mostly a Salem, and Portland conversation
The Invisible Empire in the West
Eckhard Toy’s Chapter Klan and Gown, about Eugene Klan #3 is of particular interest.
Installed Wiley Monument. Just down the slope is the actual grave. There are other gravesites marked and unmarked. Who are they? What are their stories? Was there segregation in death, as well as life? We’d like to fill in the blanks.